Sunday, February 27, 2011


Studies have said public speaking makes as many as 3 out of 4 people anxious. But that was before Facebook.

The 650 million people on Facebook suggest that most of us are getting over—or want to get over—that fear of communicating (or at least sharing pictures) in public. In just a few years, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have given billions of people the chance to connect to an audience they would never had access to before.

But now that you’re becoming comfortable in public, you may begin to wonder: Am I revealing too much? In a world with the NSA, TMZ and Wikileaks, do I have any privacy? Is it possible to be a public person and still protect my information from being misused?

Friday January 28 is Data Privacy Day 2011, an international celebration of the dignity of the individual represented through personal information. Protecting your irreplaceable data is our mission and we take this mission very seriously. (Here is F-Secure’s Privacy Policy.)

The risks

The more visible, attractive or rich you are, the more you’re a target for the haters, the stalkers and online criminals of the 21st century. Heck, if you have a credit card, you’re a target for both the online criminals and unscrupulous marketers of the world.

Sharing personal information in an age where data can travel faster than lightning requires a 21st century view of data privacy. Some think it’s vain to worry about privacy. But don’t think about your ego, think about social engineering.

Wiktionary describes social engineering as “The practice of tricking a user into giving, or giving access to, sensitive information, thereby bypassing most or all protection.” Criminals have discovered that human error is the easiest vulnerability to exploit. If you’re not careful, your private data (or even public data) can be used to fool you into making mistakes that even your award-winning Internet Security can’t prevent.

Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s not an excuse. Once your private data is stolen, you’ll have to deal with the consequences. The good news is that you can do a lot to make your data more secure

My nephew once told me, “Facebook is so easy that even old people can use it.” And by old people, he meant me.

I agree with my nephew. Most people who use social media don’t suffer significant negative consequences for doing so—or there wouldn’t be millions of new people trying it every day. Stories of people being fired or arrested for what they’ve done on Facebook are rare. But they get lots of attention because Facebook is the superstar everyone knows.

Only a small percentage of those on social media fall victim to the worst of identity theft, malware or scams. And that’s still too many people suffering needlessly—especially because most of these scourges are avoidable.

The lessons

If you learned to manage the benefits and risks of email, you can do the same for social media. Here a few things you can do to help keep your private data private.

1. Decide why you’re social networking.
For some, social networking is an extension of your private life. You mostly interact with people you know or would like to know in the real world. The main topics of conversation are personal. Even when you delve into entertainment or politics or sports, it’s about sharing opinions to have fun and connect. Intimacy is the goal so private things are often shared nonchalantly. For instance, you might reveal what you did on a day when you played hooky from school or work.

For others, social networking is like interacting at a conference. You’re seeking out people in your industry or whom you admire. Conversation is like a cocktail party—being interesting and on-topic matters. When you talk about entertainment or politics or sports, it’s a way to network and establish trust. You want people to feel like they know you, but getting too personal too fast raises red flags. For instance, you may reveal what you did on your vacation but only in a way that you wouldn’t mind your boss reading.

For a growing number of people, social network is a chance to build a little fame or fortune. You’re looking for an audience who trusts and enjoys you to the point you might even sell them things. You converse with fellow influencers and friends but you also broadcast for a targeted or general audience. When you talk about entertainment or politics or sports, you’re entertaining or engaging an audience while establishing expertise. You may share extremely private details or never talk about your personal life. Either way, you’re establishing a persona that’s relatable to the audience you’re trying to attract. For instance, you may reveal a joke a well-known person shared with you.

By the time you’re out of college for a few years, most people have tried out some variation of each of these approaches to social media. And your approach definitely affects your data security.

The rule is: the bigger the audience you seek, the more you have to think about the information you share.

All of us have to protect our ID, account and phone numbers, our address and our Mother’s maiden name. But if you’re an aspiring Disney star or class president, you have to think about which pictures you take—since you know they’ll all be posted eventually. And George Clooney probably shouldn’t use Foursquare to share his location unless he wants to spend his day shaking hands or filing restraining orders.

We all need to be cautious about sharing details that can be used to scam us. If you achieve, or accidentally achieve, fame, your privacy will become even more precious. So if you want to be internet famous, you need to be savvy about which information you share online—or you’ll have to hire people who are.

2. Secure your systems
Don’t use the default password for your voicemail or anything. Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. Don’t use work email addresses or passwords for social accounts. Put security software on your PC and your mobile device, if possible. Password protect your Wi-Fi networks. Turn on secure browsing on Facebook. Put a remote lock on your mobile phone. Always lock your PC and mobile devices when you aren’t using them. Keep your system and application software updated. (Our free Health Check makes that easy.) Turn off GPS on your phone and pictures if you don’t want strangers to know your location.

3. Choose services you trust
Any store, service or site that has your data, should have a privacy policy. A key feature of a good privacy policy is that your data will not be shared or sold. By 2011, most reputable online businesses have privacy policies that make that basic promise. But in addition to privacy also have to trust that any organization you trust with your data had security that won’t be compromised. Quality can have a price. If privacy is more important to you than cost, you can buy dedicated email services that won’t serve you ads. Regardless if they charge or not, you should only use reputable online services you trust. Before you enter any data into any website, think, “Do I trust this organization?” If there’s any doubt, ask others what they think.

4. On a social network, your information could be shared with everyone– no matter what your privacy settings are.
Twitter is simple. There are two privacy settings: everyone or “Protect my tweets”. But even if you go with the protected option, your approved followers can still retweet your information to everyone. Facebook’s privacy settings are much more complex. They’re so complex that it almost feels like you should get college credits for really using them. Going with “Friends Only” is a good start, then you have to decide if you want your page on Google (if you don’t want your Facebook page to show up on Google, go to Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites: Edit your settings > Public Search: Edit Settings > Uncheck Enable public search) and if you want to automatically share your information with other websites.

The safest rule is: get your settings right and still assume that what you post could go public so only share information you wouldn’t mind a future boss (or fan) seeing. NEVER share information that could be used to crack your passwords. Also keep in mind that the information you’re sharing that could be used by identity thieves and social engineers.

5. Be available or don’t
There is a difference between following and friending people. You can follow a lot of people but our brains can only handle around 130 friends. Rejecting or ignoring friend requests can be emotionally difficult, but your privacy is more important than others’ feelings. I say follow anyone on Twitter but on Facebook I’d recommend only befriending people you know or trust. And realize that the person is your friend, not their links. If anyone begins to spam you, let them know the problem. If they keep spamming, unfriend them. If anyone harasses you at all, block their communication. If you’re threatened, contact law enforcement.

You have the right to keep your private data secure while living your digital life to the fullest. All you have to do is respect your own data privacy and do your best to make sure that the people and businesses you interact with do the same.

(SOURCE: http://safeandsavvy.f-secure.com/2011/01/27/protect-your-data-privacy/)

Thank you to our Leader Fasheners for the info for this post.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Blogging about your craft can be another way to get the word out about your Etsy shop, but it also a wonderful way to make connections with other crafters, get feedback, and receive (the occasionally necessary) moral support. Blogging is free and relatively easy.

I’ve been blogging about my daily painting for two years. (You can see my blog at http://carolynfinnell.blogspot.com/ ) I now have 299 followers and close to 100 subscribers. And I have learned a few things about making a blog successful. There are two things you need to do to have a successful blog. 1. Get traffic to your blog for a first visit and 2. Get them to come back again. Sounds easy when you put it that way doesn’t it.

At least 2 times a week, 3 is better. I know many people who will not return to a blog if there are not any recent posts.

Write about your process, why you do what you do, what you like about your creations. Write about the experiment that failed as well as the ones that succeed. You can, and should, sometimes write about the things that are going on in your life, but remember the focus should be on your craft. Include pictures, and if the item is for sale in your Etsy store, a link to that item. Reading other crafters blogs will help you get a feel for what sort of things you might want to write about. Whatever you do write, it should be in your “voice”, people want to connect with you as a person, not just as a crafter/salesperson.

This is not Etsy. Your primary goal is not to sell but to connect with other people and those other people want to know what you look like. Having your photo there makes you a real person to them, and that makes you much more interesting. People are much more likely to want to buy from someone they like, and feel they have a connection to. (I know I’m saying “connect” a lot, but it’s really the key.)

Don’t think of it as writing, think of it as talking, and not to – with - your readers. Invite active participation from them. Ask questions (but not just “do you like this”). Ask them about their experiences, or how they do things. For instance, when I had trouble mixing just the right vibrant pink, I asked how other painters mixed that color. I’ve occasionally asked my readers to suggest a title for the painting I’ve posted. (And gotten some fabulous suggestions.)

Three or four paragraphs is about the limit anyone will read. Two paragraphs is even better.

Get the word out to people who are already familiar with you. Don’t forget to email those people who have bought from you.

Make a link list on your sidebar and ask other craft bloggers if they will exchange links with you. The more links the better. You will get most of your traffic from these links, especially at first.

Make sure your comments are interesting and specific. Not just “I like this” but “I like this because . . . “ And do NOT include a link to your blog in your comment. Most bloggers consider this sort of self-promotion spammy and will delete your comment. If they like your comment, and if their readers like it, they will click on your profile and visit your blog without your asking. Make your comments positive. Negative comments, even constructive criticism, is best communicated in an email. When I first started blogging I made it my practice to comment on at least 10 blogs every day.

Blogger will email you every comment by default. If it includes a return email (instead of noreply-comment [!at] blogger.com) you can respond directly by email. Otherwise leave a responding comment on your blog. Remember, this is about making connections and having a conversation.

I know bloggers who occasionally will give a painting to one of their followers/subscribers. They will mention it in their blogs for several weeks before it happens. This can encourage people to follow or subscribe. I’ve done it myself with moderate success, but I figure if someone wants to follow/subscribe they will do it without any incentive.

Creating a successful blog takes time and commitment. There are no overnight successes in blogville.

Good luck and good blogging.
Carolyn Finnell – aka BayouGirlPaintings

Sunday, February 20, 2011


(Etsy Entrepreneurs Member) PhotographicEye says

As a photographer I can tell you right now that you don't need special lighting for displaying your items.

Pick a nice clean pressed bedsheet. Pin it to the wall and let it drape over a table. Be sure the drape is long enough to cover the table front.

Next what colour is your ceiling? If it's white that's great. Go get a single construction light I think you can pick one up for about $20. Here a link for what I'm talking about. This is double head http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/Workshop-Equipment/120-LED-Twin-Headed-Rechargeable-Work-Light-On-Tripod-/invt/rl00046.

Take the light and point it UP to the ceiling. Now you are ready to take your picture. If you use a point and shoot you should be OK. Get down to the level at which you are looking straight on.

Take pic# 1.

Next making sure you still have the sheet in the image, move 45 degrees to one side then the next.

Take pic #2&3.

Lastly. Move in close and shoot some nice closeups to show of the details.

Take many pics and edit them as needed.

Oh and please be careful these lights get EXTREMELY hot.

Let me know if this helps.

For more photo help: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7978/etsy-entrepreneurs/discuss/6783321/page/1/


If you have any store Discounts, Free Shipping, and Coupon codes please feel free to post them here.

Please do not post anything else other than coupon codes that you would like to share with other team members. Thank you!



Our team and members are highly dedicated to helping you succeed. Everything that we will be doing in our team is to promote exposure for your shop and help you to increase sales. Our end goal is to Quit Our Day Job.

Congratulations for being apart of our wonderful team. Thorough out the next few weeks we will be organizing Team Challenges and a series of business activities and exercises to get you heading toward the road to success.

First off, lets introduce ourselves:
A little bit about yourself and your shop/what you sell.
Don't forget to add your Facebook Fanpage URL, Blog URL, websites, Twitter, etc...
Let's get to know each other.


SOCIAL NETWORKING SWAP: Share your links here





TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TEAM CHALLENGE: FOLLOW THIS LINK: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7978/etsy-entrepreneurs/discuss/6787871/

Team Challenges are designed to help ALL of our members increase exposure to their shops and increase sales. Our team have new members enrolling everyday, so I have to design the team challenges in series of lessons. That way, the new members will not feel like they are falling behind. They can follow and catch up to the rest of the team by simply following these lessons in order. This is the 1st lesson so we all have a fresh start. Ok, here we go....

Starting a business is a difficult challenge and it is also an art. As business owners, we have to wear many hats and have to be a jack of all trades. I know how overwhelming it can be to start a new business venture. Even if you are not a new business, you can still benefit from our team challenge business series of lessons. The market is always changing so you have to make sure that you are adapting to the changes each season. Plus, there are always something new out there to learn. Now, since there are so many topics and lessons to cover, and each of our members are on different growth level of their business; I have to make sure that we are ALL on the same page so that we can move along together.

Now, keep in mind that we all have different business needs. So if the lesson does not pertain to you then you have no homework for the week. Treat these lessons like your weekly homework. Each week, you will be assigned new homework assignments. Your reward at the end of the semester (lesson series) is to see growth in your business and sales.

First off, like I have mentioned earlier, to move forward together as a team, we cannot be doing random things here and there online or in forums. This is extremely non-productive. So to move our team along, I have to make sure that we are ALL on the same page and we will be starting off our Team Challenges on a level playing field. That way, we will ALL be able to grow together. Even if you think that the lesson pertains to you, please don't discount the lesson entirely. Before you decide that the lesson is not advanced enough for you, please give it a try. There is ALWAYS something that you can improve on because the market is always changing.

LESSON ONE: Store Makeover
1. Make sure that you have a cohesive theme and look throughout your store.
1a. Make sure you have a banner with your store name and logo
1b. Make sure you have an eye catching avatar
Your Avatar should be something interesting. It should be eye catching. It should make you want to click on it if you see it in a forum, chatroom, or facebook.
It could be your best selling item. Something that screams You. I see some people putting their picture up as their avatar, but let me ask you this question: If you see someone's picture in a chatroom or forum, would you click on it? Does it catches your eye? Does it stand out among the thousands of other images online? Does it tell others what you are selling? Does it represent/fit in with the theme of your shop? Now do you see my point. It is up to you if you want to use your own picture as your avatar, but I do not think that it is a good idea.
1c. Make sure you have set your store policies: including Returns and exchanges. Many people do not have a return policy in place and then when something goes wrong, then it's just a big mess because you did not state your terms ahead of time. Your store policy is a place where you can state your store terms and what your customer should expect from you and your shop (especially if something were to go wrong). And it is where you can lessen your liabilities. You should state a clear return and exchange policy. Also include shipping and insurance info here too. Just in case, if something were to go wrong, you would be covered if you state it beforehand in your store policy.

2. Take Great Photos
Good photos are not enough...it must be GREAT!
Online shoppers do not have the luxury of feeling and touching your products in person. So your job is to be able to do that for them. You should create an experience for your shoppers by the way you portray your products. Suggest how it is used, but don't just say it, show it with pictures.
2a. Lots of lighting (use natural light, no flash).
2b. Use light color background
2c. Do not use distracting props
2d. Ask yourself if you were in your shoppers' shoes, would you buy your own goods by just looking at the pictures? If you wouldn't buy it, then chances are your customers won't either.
2e. You do not need an overly expensive camera to take great photos. This is a secret, but some of the pictures in my shop were taken with my cell phone camera...can you tell which ones...exactly my point! A good source of natural lighting is the secret to taking great photographs.
2f. You do not need to be a professional photographers to take great photos. Just practice practice practice. Also, another tip is taking as many photos of 1 item will give you a better chance of getting a great photo out of the bunch. A professional photographer once told me that his secret to taking amazing pictures is to take as many of them as you can...you might be able to use only 40 photos out of hundreds. But 40 amazing photos is better than hundreds of so so photos. Do you see my point.

3. Lastly, make sure that all items in your shop follow the same theme and color scheme. When you open an Avon catalog or some other store catalog, all of the items look like they belong to 1 collection. There is no single item that screams, "I don't belong here." Now, make sure your shop is the same way. Your store is like an upscale catalog...now it is your job to stage your product and use the right color schemes (use a light color background for your photos)

4. Write a good description of your products. Paint a story. Suggest some uses for your products. Many shoppers might admire your products but they are only lookers and won't buy because they don't know what they will use it for. It is your job to consult them on what they should should it for. Lastly, answer this question for each of your products (in your customers' point of view): Do I have to have this item and why?

Alright...you are done! See that is not so bad!
Once you have completed this assignment, post your store here and we will critique your shop (optional). By posting your store below you are agreeing to have our members visit and critique your shop. Doing so is extremely helpful for our members who feel that they need a non bias opinion. Please remember not to take our critique personally...remember it is just business! Ok, now let's all have fun and help each other out!

TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TEAM CHALLENGE: FOLLOW THIS LINK: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7978/etsy-entrepreneurs/discuss/6787871/